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Covid in UAE: Advanced tech launched to help in tracing close contacts locally and globally

Surveillance through electronic system and Digital Epidemiology Control Centre launched on the inaugural day of Arab Health



'SPHERE' is an electronic public health service for surveillance records registrations and early warnings of infectious diseases. Photo: Nandini Sircar
'SPHERE' is an electronic public health service for surveillance records registrations and early warnings of infectious diseases. Photo: Nandini Sircar
by

Nandini Sircar

Published: Mon 24 Jan 2022, 2:08 PM

Last updated: Mon 24 Jan 2022, 10:32 PM

Health innovative technologies are taking centre stage at Arab Health 2022, which deploy digitally advanced technological systems using Artificial Intelligence (AI) that will help contact tracing and mitigate future pandemic-like situations.

The UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) launched surveillance through the electronic system (SPHERE), which is imperative for the rapid response required to combat infectious diseases.

This technology will monitor data and information to assess the burden and distribution of health risks, prioritising public health actions in the UAE.

Director of MoHAP's Preventive Medicine Department, Dr Nada Al Marzooqi. Photo: Nandini Sircar
Director of MoHAP's Preventive Medicine Department, Dr Nada Al Marzooqi. Photo: Nandini Sircar

Explaining this phenomenon Director of MoHAP's Preventive Medicine Department, Dr Nada Al Marzooqi, said, "Today we have launched 'SPHERE' which is an electronic public health service for surveillance records registrations and early warnings where it will be acting as a hub to collect the data related to events that have effect on public health from the local entities that are associated with us.

"So, it will help to have a database for early warnings or threats that are affecting the public health. We will also have a strong database for research to take decisions and preventive measures related to public health activities."

She adds, "It will help in contract tracing which is required during an epidemic or a pandemic and other public health activities like surveillance for injuries, poisoning and for syndromic syndrome where more activities to have these preventive measures in place."

Digital Epidemiology Control Centre. Photo: Nandini Sircar
Digital Epidemiology Control Centre. Photo: Nandini Sircar

Simultaneously, on day one of the healthcare exhibition, MOHAP also witnessed the launch of the Digital Epidemiology Control Centre. This digital hub will give stakeholders a snapshot of all the health events of the world.

It will collect data from different international websites like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organisation (WHO) as well as from other big countries that would aid in early detection and expediting the containment of diseases.

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Shedding light on the initiative, administrator MOHAP Hamda Al Blooshi, said, "You can see any country's statistics on the screen. Prediction and surveillance before things happen is key, rather than reacting to contain it…this technology using Artificial Intelligence (AI) will help predict to mitigate outcomes. This also helps in contact tracing."

Indicating the data on the screen, which is displayed on the MOHAP stand she, further says, "As per the data on the screen, UAE has no risk of death from the pandemic at the moment."

It's said the tool has already been tried and tested in Malaysia, the World Bank and WHO (EMRO).

"We use 1.5 million data points which include in general the disease, weather, social and demography, calculation and density parameters," she added.


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